It means both, depending on whether the following object is direct or indirect.


Direct object: "Je me prépare une salade fruit" = I prepare a fruit salad for myself.

Indirect object: "Je me prépare à la fête" = I prepare myself for the party.

(similarily for a verbal phrase preceded by "à": "je me prépare à courir" = I prepare myself to run)

Object-less versions may also have the figurative sense of growing, developping, commencing: "un orage se prépare" = A thunderstorm is about to begin.

> Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 22:08:59 +0000
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: the same concept invented twice
> To: [log in to unmask]
> I'd always taken "se preparer" to mean 'prepare oneself...' in the sense of 
> 'prepare yourself for bad news' rather than preparing food.
> 'I prepare myself a fruit salad' = je prepare une salade de fruit pour moi. 
> C'est courant??
> Mike

> Although "I create a fruit salad for myself" _is_ reciprocal in French: "Je 
> me fait/prépare une salade de fruit".
> I admit I formally know little on the subject and might be erroneously 
> conflating pronominals and reflexives... When a L1 French teacher talks 
> about pronominals, it's rarely for other reasons than detailing yet another 
> rule about whether or not passive participles must (silently) agree in 
> gender and number with something.